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Earth Defense Force 2017 (Xbox 360) artwork

Earth Defense Force 2017 (Xbox 360) review

"This is a game that will make you cry. "

This is a game that will make you cry.

You will take a look at the graphics, and come to the conclusion that they are simply not up to the job. They are, at best, last-gen. Character models are basic, animation is barely existant, detail is scant. Your character looks pretty much like every other human character in the game, and there is no discernable visual difference between one gun model and the next one. Add into this the limited nature of enemy types, where red ants are just black ants in a new colour, and you will wonder how they dare release something so ... dated.

You will listen to the cheesy dialogue, and you will laugh. As your squad members run alongside you, they pepper the scene with lines like "I could kill that with one shot!" and "This was a peaceful place until you came along!" Again, it is like something from a 1980's action film. Again, it just feels dated.

You will witness the 'plot' unfold, and realise that the entirety of the story is in the title. Hell, the only way that the title could tell you more of the story would be if the game was called Earth Defense Force Shoot Stuff. Because, that is pretty much the entirety of the game. Shoot stuff, and when it is dead, shoot more stuff. Dare I say that this type of game is ... dated?

You will play through the game, and watch your squad mates display some of the most useless AI you have ever witnessed. They are in danger, but it is much more likely to be running in front of your bullet that kills them than any of the giant ants they face. And the enemies don't fare any better. They don't flank you, they don't hide, they don't change tactics one tiny bit throughout the game. They just come straight for you, relentelessly, regardless of how many or few of them there are.

You will marvel at the limited nature of the weapons, and the lack of strategy required in the game. Do you take weapon #33, which kills things in seconds, or weapon #44, which kills things in micro-seconds? Grenade A doesn't really do anything different to Missile C, and neither of them offer any kind of advantage to Rocket F. Out of over 100 weapons, 90 or so have no real use. Add to this that you can only carry 2 of them at any time, AND that you have infinite ammo for whichever weapons you carry, and you soon realise that strategy is of minor importance here.

You will become aware, quickly, that the entire play mechanic consists of shoot aliens, collect weapons, shoot more aliens, collect more weapons, lather, rinse, repeat. Do it again at a higher difficulty level.

Didn't this kind of thing go out of style a decade or two ago?

You will question the reasoning behind this game's very existence. Sandlot must have been insane releasing this game in this day and age. Measure the game using any objective criteria, and it is a complete and utter shambles. A game that is completely and utterly out of its' time. A game from the 1980's. A game that is as dumb as a big bag of rocks. A game devoid of any real character development, devoid of any meaningful story, devoid of all but the most basic of production values, and devoid of anything that games universally contain today.

Some of that may well make you cry. All of that may well make you cry. But none of that is what made me cry.

What made me cry was level 52. When wave after wave of alien insects, spaceships, and robots came after me, and the screen just didn't stop shaking. My brain screamed at me, adrenaline tore through my veins, and I wondered just how I was still alive. For, this level was the level in which I faced the might of several hundred aliens, and stood tall at the end of it. When I had not only reduced the invasion force to nothing, but I had also reduced large tracts of a city to rubble at the same time. As the screen flashed up 'Mission cleared', I exhaled. And then I wiped away a tear of pure JOY!

I should explain. Level 52 is the penultimate level in this marvellously old-school slice of retro insanity. The level before the final boss, and the level that throws more enemies at you than any level you have ever seen in any game you have ever played throughout the whole of ever. This is a level where, at times, you simply can not see anything OTHER than the enemies that are flooding your screen. You run, shoot, jump, shoot, roll, shoot, dodge, shoot, shoot, shoot, and shoot. After a brief pause while you mop up the remaining couple of aliens that you missed, the whole thing starts all over again. More aliens, more shooting.

Let me run that by you one more time. More enemies at you than any level you have ever seen in any game you have ever played throughout the whole of ever. This is no understatement. Sandlot aren't trying to push the envelope for storytelling here, and they don't want to raise any graphical bars. They are simply concerned with giving the player an experience that they will never forget. Instead of making a game that does several things to an average level, they have produced a game that only does one thing, but does it to an exceptional level. By the time this game is finished you will have killed thousands of aliens, by firing hundreds of thousands of bullets at them.

The rest of the breakdown is irrelevant. People who will like this game know it going in. Many will look at the low production values, and not give it a chance. Some will laugh at the limited and repetitive nature of the gameplay. Others will see the complete lack of Live functionality, and discard it in favour of something with co-op over Live, or something with a better range of achievments. Six achievments? It is ridiculous, and yet totally forgiveable at the same time. Any criticism that can be thrown at this game will bounce off the shield provided by the game's budget price point.

But some of us still crave this kind of game. Some of us are happy to play alongside the other person. Some of us don't require external motivations to play our games. Some of us LIKE facing overwhelming odds! Some of us just like shooting stuff, period.

Some of us love games like this. If you give it a chance, and look past the packaging, you could too.

cheekylee's avatar
Featured community review by cheekylee (May 23, 2007)

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